a report by Betsy Cramer
Building relationships was the topic of the first workshop presented by the Santa Barbara Conservancy, Wednesday, at 914 Santa Barbara Street. Stephen Shafer, President of the San Buenaventura Conservancy and a professional photographer, described some of Ventura’s architectural history, illustrating his lecture with archival photos, contrasting with contemporary views. Not everything can be saved, he pointed out, but saving our history is worth the struggle.
Attending were representatives of the major land use-preservation organizations: the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, the Pearl Chase Society, Goleta Valley Historical Society, Santa Ynez Valley Alliance, various neighborhood associations and individuals, including Board members of the SB Conservancy.
Exchanged were stories from the two counties. Examples were the on-going Oxnard Wagon Wheel struggle now in the courts and the recently successful landmark protection achieved for historic Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos. Building relationships among organizations is key, as are study and knowledge of CEQA processes and knowledge of the state resources.
For increased effectiveness: be reasonable and don’t hesitate to call on other organizations for support; letters to decision makers from knowledgeable advocates do make a difference, we were encouraged. The Q and A included information on building the organization and reaching out via the social networks. Future workshops and how to participate will be announced on the Santa Barbara Conservancy web site.
As a former mediator who chose not to practice law, I found the workshop stimulating and encouraging for the future of land use, historic preservation in Santa Barbara.